Greg Clarke

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Australian Design Centre is partnering with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to present Chili Philly: Crochet Social. We talked to Greg Clarke, Creative Director about his highlights of this year’s festival.

The theme for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2017 is Creating Equality. What does this mean for you?
By its very definition, Equality ensures everyone is treated fairly and equally and no-one is discriminated against for their sexuality, sex, gender identity, race, beliefs, age or abilities. Mardi Gras has a proud 39-year history of highlighting and fostering rights and equality for LGBTQI individuals and communities. In 2017 we’ll celebrate all that has been achieved, and shine our spotlight brightly on ways we can work together to eliminate discrimination and prejudice in all its forms.

Mardi Gras is such a huge event for Sydney and the LGBTI community. What are your key ingredients for a successful Mardi Gras?
This will be my first Mardi Gras as Creative Director so time will soon tell if some of the new ingredients we have introduced will be successful. This year we have an amazing new location for Fair Day in the heart of Newtown and the team is busy building incredible floats for the Parade. We have also have partnered with a number of organisations to present a range of extraordinary new events including the Mardi Gras Comedy Festival with Frontier Comedy, the Art Gallery of NSW with Queer Thinking, as well as the Australian Design Centre with Chili Philly: Crochet Social. A successful festival should have an amazing range of celebratory events in which people can come together to celebrate who they are and Mardi Gras has this in 'spades'. From the community get together of Fair Day to a festival program of over 100 events that includes parties, theatre, cabaret, film, music, dance and sporting events. Added to this is one of the most amazing and unique Parades in the world that continues to be a platform for all LGBQTI communities and you have one amazing celebration.

The parade itself is an iconic cultural event. What other cultural events in the Mardi Gras program are you most looking forward to?
I'm really looking forward to getting to as many events as possible including The Mardi Gras Film Festival, the new Mardi Gras Comedy Festival and the special free event Queer ArtAfter Hours at the AGNSW. I'm also really excited about the all night Party after the Parade as we have a brilliant lineup of artists including the Veronicas, Tegan & Sarah and featuring leading DJ's from around Australia and the world.

ADC’s exhibition Chili Philly: Crochet Social is such a colourful, crafty, performative expression of the work of one individual. What is it about Phil’s work that you think will resonate with Mardi Gras lovers?
I think the wonderfully clever, playful and camp nature of Phil's work, along with his sense of humour will really appeal to Mardi Gras audiences. His work certainly sits nicely in a long tradition of queer performance artists and drag queens creating and wearing amazing costumes, head pieces and wigs.

Find out about the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival here

Explore the exhibition Chili Philly: Crochet Social here

Images: Mardi Gras parade. Trevor Ashley as Shirley Bassey for his show Diamonds Are For Trevor. Courtesy of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.